- About WIP
- Participating Entities
- Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District
- City of Durango Utility Commission
- Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority
- Dolores Conservation District
- Dolores Water Conservancy District
- Empire Electric Association
- Florida Water Conservancy District
- La Plata Archuleta Water District
- La Plata Electric Association
- La Plata Water Conservancy District
- Mancos Conservation District
- Mancos Water Conservancy District
- Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD)
- Pine River Irrigation District
- San Juan Water Conservancy District
- Southwestern Water Conservation District
- Town of Silverton
- Town of Telluride
- Regional Water Projects
- Animas-La Plata Project (Lake Nighthorse)
- Animas River Stakeholders
- Cloud Seeding Program
- Dolores Project (McPhee Reservoir)
- Dry Gulch Reservoir (Pending)
- Florida Project (Lemon Reservoir)
- Mancos Project (Jackson Gulch Reservoir)
- Long Hollow Reservoir
- Pine River Project (Vallecito Reservoir)
- Rio Blanco Restoration Project
- River Protection Work Group
- Water Information
- Contact WIP
April 6th, 2015
In late January Governor Hickenlooper announced Don Brown will be the new Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture. He replaces John Salazar who retired in December, having served since 2011. “We are fortunate to welcome Don Brown to the team and thrilled to add his experience and leadership to Colorado’s thriving agriculture industry,” said Hickenlooper. “Agriculture is a critical sector for our economy, contributing $40 billion and providing nearly 173,000 jobs annually. Having Don at the helm, we know agriculture across Colorado will continue to grow.” As commissioner, Brown will lead the department’s daily operations, direct its 300 employees, and oversee the agency’s seven divisions. Brown, a third-generation farmer in Yuma County, has run several successful businesses while spending most of his career managing and growing his family’s extensive farm operations. He has also been active in water conservation, energy development, and technology innovation issues within the industry. Brown is a recipient of the Bill Seward Memorial Award--Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Cattle Producer. He is active in the National Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, National Corn Growers, and the Colorado Corn Growers Association. He also served as president of the Yuma County Cattlemen’s Association and state president of the Future Farmers of America. Brown graduated with a degree in agriculture from Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, and received a vocational agriculture education degree with honors from Colorado State University.
The Colorado Division of Water Resources (CDWR) has hired John Simpson as the new Assistant Division Engineer for the Dolores/San Juan River Basin, Durango Office. The CDWR is responsible for administering water rights, groundwater well permitting, hydrography, and dam safety in the Basin. Simpson is a Professional Engineer with 15 years experience in engineering and water resources. He received his undergraduate degree from the Colorado School of Mines in Engineering with a Civil Engineering emphasis. He received his master’s degree from Michigan Technological University in Civil Engineering with a specialty in Water Resources. John has previously worked in the private and public sectors on projects such as development projects in the Durango area to community water projects in Honduras with the Peace Corps. John worked extensively in the mountain and prairie states in water resource administration while with the United States Fish and Wildlife. While with the Fish and Wildlife, he was a Professional Engineer in Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Colorado. As a Durango High School graduate, John is excited to return to the Four Corners. John and his family live in Durango, where he is active in the community as a high school wrestling referee.
Club 20 was founded in 1953 to enable Western Slope cities, counties and businesses to speak with one voice to the state legislature. Today, the 62-year-old lobbying organization is being led by one of its youngest executive directors, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CD 3), Christian Reece. Reece grew up in an Air Force family, traveling and relocating frequently, until her father retired and moved his family to Rifle, where she went to high school. She attended Colorado Mesa University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, planning to enter medical school. When she chose not to go to medical school, she worked for a year for a security agency, followed by four years in fundraising with Habitat for Humanity, then a couple of years assisting Congressman Tipton. “I worked with Club 20 a lot in Tipton’s office,” she said, making her very familiar with issues of importance to the Western Slope. Club 20 has 10 policy committees concerned with Western Slope issues such as public lands management, oil and gas development, coal mining, forestry, water availability, severance taxes, agricultural tourism, and high-speed broadband service. Her duties as executive director are varied and somewhat intangible. “It’s public relations, lobbying, bill monitoring,” Reece stated. “It’s making sure our membership is being heard.”
In January 2015 the Colorado Water Congress (CWC) awarded Bill Trampe, a life-long Gunnison Rancher and Colorado water advocate, the 2015 Wayne N. Aspinall “Water Leader of the Year” Award. The Aspinall Award is given annually in recognition of a career of service and contribution to Colorado’s water community. It is awarded to a person who has dedicated a significant part of his or her career to the advancement of the state and its programs to protect, develop, and preserve the state’s water resources. Trampe was selected for the award by the previous Aspinall Award winners and CWC officers. CWC Board President, John McClow, said: “Bill Trampe’s leadership and original thinking in water and agriculture have had a tremendous positive impact in our community and the entire state. His modesty, wisdom and tireless commitment to achieving the best result, even when there is strong resistance, inspires everyone who has the opportunity to work with him.”
Long-time A-LP Project advocate Lawrence R. Huntington of Hesperus, CO passed on March 7, 2015, he was 96. Lawrence was born in Durango, raised in Hesperus, and graduated from Durango High School. After graduation he drove a propane delivery truck from Cortez to the San Luis Valley. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II where he served in the 2nd Armored Division (Hell on Wheels) and five major campaigns including the Battle of the Bulge. Lawrence returned home to the family ranch and diligently worked the land for his entire life. He was married to Leola Bacus in Gallup, NM in 1946. She preceded him in death in 1965. Together they raised their four children and he served his community on various boards to include: Basin Coop, Durango 9-R Schools, Farm Credit System, La Plata County Cattlemen’s Association, La Plata County Fair, La Plata Electric Association, and the La Plata Water Conservancy District. He married a high school classmate, Margaret O’Brien McDonald, in 1966 and she, too, preceded his passing in 1997. He is survived by his four children, two siblings, three stepchildren, numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, as well as extended family and friends. Memorial contributions may be made to the La Plata County Cattlemen’s Scholarship Fund.
Steve Harris, with Durango-based Harris Water Engineering recently received the prestigious Club 20 Preston Walker award named for a former publisher of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. The annual award is presented for service and dedication to the organization.
An important component of the recovery of the endangered Colorado Pikeminnow and Razorback Sucker in the San Juan River is the magnitude and pattern of flows in the critical habitat downstream of Farmington. The first development of the flows was in 1999 that primarily focused on the quantity of water and timing of releases from Navajo Reservoir. Also in 1999, a range of equally important flow ranges were estimated to be beneficial to recovery of the fish: base flows of 500 to 1000 cfs; peak intermediate flows of 2500/5000/8000 cfs; and peak flow of 10,000 cfs or more. The outlet works at Navajo Dam cannot release more than 5,000 cfs so in order to obtain flows downstream of Farmington approaching 10,000 cfs, Navajo releases need to be matched with high Animas River flows (i.e. spring runoff).
In early January the Durango City Council signed a resolution supporting the delivery of water from Lake Nighthorse to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. “This water would really help our future,” Chairman Manuel Heart said. The resolution stemmed from a series of recent meetings between city officials and the tribe about the potential recreational use of Lake Nighthorse. The city will likely send the resolution to Colorado’s US senators and House members to help support the tribe as it seeks funding for infrastructure to deliver the water. The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has water rights to about 31 percent of the water stored in the lake. The additional water would allow for greater economic development on the reservation.
The following is a condensed version of an article that was published in the Alliance for Water Efficiency’s Water Currents newsletter and is reprinted with permission:
We’re accustomed to waiting in lines for a football game, to buy movie tickets or perhaps to get a seat in the most coveted professor’s class. But what if we had to wait in line to move? What if we had to be granted access to a city where we found a great new job or the family dream home we always wanted? This idea isn’t so far-fetched; in some places, it’s already an unfortunate reality. In the seaside village of Cambria, California, 666 families and individuals are currently waiting for permission to move into their single family homes. Many have been on the wait list for upwards of 20 years. Why have communities resorted to such extreme measures? The answer: insufficient water supplies to hook up to new homes and facilities. Planners and decision-makers are increasingly challenged with the task of accommodating new water customers which in turn places limits on overall economic growth and deters businesses from investing or expanding operations that can create jobs and bring opportunity to cities.
According to a mid-February Grand Canyon News story, experts say conservation efforts like not watering lawns, taking shorter showers, turning off faucets, and not washing your vehicle are not going to help in a long-term solution for water shortages along the Colorado River Basin. According to John Weisheit, Conservation Director for Living Rivers, the only thing that will stop water from disappearing is to put the brakes on population growth and city expansion. Living Rivers, located in Moab, Utah, is an educational organization dedicated to conservation, preservation and restoration of the Colorado Plateau and is considered by many to be the voice of most non-governmental organizations located in the Colorado Basin areas. For the last 15 years Living Rivers has said the Colorado River Basin area is going to run out of water. According to Weisheit the only solution is to inform the public that the Colorado River water supply is gone in the West and there is no room for further business or residential opportunities. While population control may seem like a drastic measure, even if a solution to slow down the shortages were presented right now, it would take years to get underway and even then may not make a difference. "It's not something that can be fixed in one year--it'll take 30 years," Weisheit said.